The Patriots want you to think their defense is bad
Boston Herald photo
The names don't jump out at you and they may not be the most talented unit.
But that's the way the Patriots' defense likes it.
Led by Kyle Van Noy, Devin McCourty and others, the defense was statistically one of the worst groups in NFL history through the first few weeks of the season. They were giving up an average of over 30 points a game and over 400 yards a game.
Since then, they've allowed the fewest points in the league per game (just a shade over 14 points a game). Overall, they are the fifth-best scoring defense in the NFL.
“So, do you still think we suck?” Van Noy asked. “A lot of people forget there were a lot of new guys, and it takes a while to adjust to different roles. Guys’ roles increased. Other guys were just new, so just had to build chemistry and it didn’t happen right away. I know it’s hard for some people to realize that it’s not perfect. We try our best, and we’ve done a good job of putting everything aside and focusing on each other and focusing on our individual play and playing at a high level on defense as well as offensively and special teams. I feel like we’ve picked up across the field across the categories.”
It all started Week 5 in Tampa Bay. Stephon Gilmore, who had received an insane amount of criticism for communication deficiencies and subpar play, had his best game of the season and the defense gave up only 14 points to a Buccaneers team that looked like it was on the rise. Of course, the Bucs petered out, but the Patriots didn't.
The Pats' defense has only given up 20 points or more three times and will face an Eagles team featuring a back up quarterback in Nick Foles who can be hit-or-miss.
It's a bend-but-don't-break defense, which is the kind of defense they've had over the years save for a few seasons. But as they've shown time and again, they make the plays they need to make to win.